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Nvidia partners with Bosch and Daimler on self-driving car tech

The company best known for making computer graphics cards is teaming up with Bosch and Daimler to bring some superserious hardware to the race for autonomy.

NVIDIA

Nvidia is no longer content to help nerds increase their frame rates during hours-long Fortnite marathons; it's got both of its feet planted well and truly in the world of autonomous car technology, and the stuff it has been developing is incredible. The chipmaker announced today that it's working with both the largest Tier 1 automotive supplier and one of the largest luxury car manufacturers in the world to put that tech to work.

Autonomous cars require vast amounts of computing power to process the massive amount of data that they use to see the world. Previously, this kind of computing power wasn't size-efficient for use in a vehicle, and it definitely wasn't energy-efficient, something that proved to be no small barrier for those companies seeking to develop autonomous cars based on electric vehicle platforms. With Nvidia's Drive Pegasus supercomputer and the Drive Xavier and Drive Constellation systems backing it up, a supercomputer is now smaller than an average laptop.

The Drive Pegasus computer may be a big step toward autonomous cars, at least for Bosch and Daimler.

NVIDIA

Just for a frame of reference, the Drive Pegasus unit can perform over 1 trillion operations using only 1 watt of power. It's capable of doing 320 trillion operations per second at full power. That's mind-blowing.

This kind of power is perfect for companies like Bosch and Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) to help realize their dream of bringing built-to-purpose Level 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles to market within a decade, so they have opted to partner with Nvidia and make use of the entire Nvidia platform from the in-car units to data centers where testing is being performed in simulation by the Drive Constellation technology.

The partnership was announced Tuesday in a conference call for media by Nvidia Director of Automotive Danny Shapiro. It will be interesting to see how other players in the self-driving car sector react to the partnership between Bosch, Daimler and Nvidia and the kind of edge that such powerful hardware may end up giving them.